Author: Kaimi Wenger

An unfortunate typo

All of this to-do about Jesus and Satan being brothers is unfortunate, really. As far as I can tell, it’s all a misunderstanding based on a simple typo. Mormons don’t really think that Jesus and Satan are brothers. We think that Jesus and Santa are brothers! And what could make more sense than that, really? Look at all of the similarities:

José Smith

The Spanish-language scriptures use the name José Smith. This raises interesting questions: Which names do we choose to translate and which do we choose not to translate, and why?

Mormonism Q&A I: Race issues; Jesus/Satan issues; some sources

There have been some interesting discussions of Mormonism in the media lately. Commenters like Lawrence O’Donnell, Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, and others have made statements about the church in highly public places. What are we (or others) to make of these? In this post, I’ll try to address some of the questions that I’ve seen in various media contexts lately.

Three Statements

In 2004, the church issued True to the Faith, a First Presidency-approved booklet discussing many points of church doctrine. The booklet includes a discussion of birth control. How does that official, First Presidency-approved discussion compare to both President Beck’s recent talk on Mothers Who Know, and to the anti-Beck statement at the What Women Know website?

Book of Mormon stories

A recent change in the wording of the Book of Mormon may suggests a shift in the church’s view of the relationship between Lamanites and American Indian tribes. The prior introduction, written just 26 years ago by Elder McConkie, stated that the Lamanites were “the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”

Minding our P’s and Q’s

A Evangelical classmate of mine discovered an easy tactic for bothering his Mormon classmates, that often required him only to occasionally omit the letter B or W from a sentence. In discussion about the church, he would conspicuously mention the name “Spencer Kimball,” or “Gordon Hinckley,” or “Ezra Benson.” This drove many of my Mormon classmates batty. It seemed to be a great moral wrong to refer to “Gordon Hinckley” without the intervening B.

Mormonism and American Politics conference, November 9-10

This weekend, Princeton will host an interdisciplinary conference to discuss the contested intersection between religion and American politics. Speakers include Richard Bushman, Richard Land, Kathleen Flake, Philip Barlow, Marci Hamilton, Alan Wolfe, Helen Whitney, Mark Silk, Noah Feldman, Sarah Barringer Gordon, Stephen Macedo, Thomas Griffith, Melissa Proctor, Robert George, Russell Arben Fox, Chris Karpowitz, David Campbell, John Green, and Francis Beckwith.

Tea Party

Don’t forget, this weekend is Sunstone East, organized by blogoddess Kristine Haglund.

Two-Question Poll

Which of the following statements would you agree with? 1. A school voucher system should be put into place, to more easily allow parents to remove their children from sometimes-deficient public schools and place them in more appropriate, parent-selected educational environments.

Red

And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. Joel 2:30-31 (Photo: San Diego Fire Moon, originally uploaded by Tamara Hart, link via Exponent II)

The multitudinous family of Smith

Josiah Quincy famously wrote that, “Of the multitudinous family of Smith, from Adam down (Adam of the “Wealth of Nations,” I mean), none had so won human hearts and shaped human lives as this Joseph. His influence, whether for good or for evil, is potent today, and the end is not yet.” Was he right? And does this still hold true today? Where does Joseph rank, within the multitudinous family of Smith, in present-day influence?

In case you’re here for that other Times and Seasons . . .

We get a fair number of visitors from the search string, “Times and Seasons.” I’m sure a portion of these are actually looking for the blog; and others may be after discussion of the general concept (which isn’t solely a Mormon idea). But I’m sure some of them are actually looking for an online version of the old Mormon periodical. Where do you go if you want to read the original Times and Seasons? Here (scanned-in pages; scroll down); here (description and search link); here (transcriptions). (All links via the amazing Ardis Parshall.) Any other questions?

Lorenzo’s exhortation

“A new century dawns upon the world today. The hundred years just completed were the most momentous in the history of man upon this planet. It would be impossible in a hundred days to make even a brief summary of the notable events, the marvelous developments, the grand achievements, and the beneficial inventions and discoveries, which mark the progress of the ten decades now left behind in the ceaseless march of humanity. The very mention of the nineteenth century suggests advancement, improvement, liberty, and light. Happy are we to have lived amidst its wonders and shared in the riches of its treasures of intelligence! The lessons of the past century should have prepared us for the duties and glories of the opening era. It ought to be the age of peace, of greater progress of the universal adoption of the golden rule.

Winter Food

The icy breath of winter descends. Yesterday reached a low of 59; the forecast for the next few days drops to a bone-chilling 55. (Don’t hate me because I live in paradise.) The seasons cause changes. Starting about now, I won’t be able to swim at the beach without a wetsuit. We’re packing away shorts — one or two pairs, maybe — and breaking out the sweater. Also, it’s time to look to winter foods and recipes once again.

Dealing with the Religious

Are you an agnostic divorced man whose Evangelical daughter (two weekends a month) is worried that you’ll go to hell? You’re in luck, because in the past week, two different columnists have offered you their advice.

Most Popular Names

Can you guess the ten most common last names in America? (Link via A Soft Answer). You can check your guesses at this link. My first ten guesses got six right answers. (I missed #3, 6, 7, and 8; my incorrect guesses came in at #13, 14, 15, and 23.) Can you do better?

Beck and Call

Just FYI, if 400+ comments at T&S aren’t enough for you, check out some of the following other nacle reactions to President Beck’s talk: Heather at MMW: What I Wish President Beck had Said. Lisa at FMH: I Want to Sustain Her, but I Don’t Believe Her. Carrie at Tales: President Beck’s Other Talk. Kristine Haglund: I’m a Traitor to my Gender Why I Liked President Beck’s Talk (Mostly).

Legal Limitations on Church Contact?

On every ward’s roster are a few zz’s, people who have requested no contact. In different wards, I’ve gotten different messages about these folks. In some wards, clerk/bishop/EQP/etc will say something like, “we can’t talk to Bro. Jones. We’re legally prohibited from talking to him.” Is that true?